Hip flexors refer to the muscles both in and near the hips that move the legs and the torso. The hip flexor grouping of muscles helps the lower body move, and if those muscles are tight, they can cause pain and stiffness.
Hip flexor muscles need to be extended and stretched regularly to keep them working well, and sitting is an activity that does the opposite. On the opposite side of the spectrum, runners experience tight hip flexors. When running, the hip flexor muscles are shortened with the stride and not stretched or lengthened. Whether due to being sedentary or a runner, tight hip flexors leads to pain when walking and standing, as well as back pain. There are stretches to battle tight hip flexors and the discomfort that goes along it.
Lunge Hip Flexor
The lunge hip flexor stretches not only the hips but also the glutes and thighs. This stretch is accomplished by being in a lunge position with the right knee forward. Drop your left knee down to the ground and place your hands on the floor directly under your shoulders. The upper body should be tall, and you should hold this pose for up to a minute. When finished, switch sides and repeat.
The Butterfly Stretch
The butterfly stretch helps the hips and stretches the inside of the thighs and the glutes. After sitting cross-legged, press the soles of your feet together. Hold onto your ankles, straighten the posture of your spine, and let your knees open. Slowly bend forward from the hips while keeping your back straight. If possible, walk your hands forward from your body to deepen the stretch. Hold this stretch for up to one minute.
Hip Flexor Bed Stretch
Accomplish this stretch by lying on your back on a bed or treatment table very close to the edge. Place your leg hanging down off the side of the bed. As your leg hangs, the hip flexor muscles stretch. Raise the leg to the bed to rest, then repeat. Switch to the other side of the bed and repeat with your other leg.
Figure Four Stretch
Begin by lying on the floor on your back with your feet flat. Place your right ankle over your left knee and bring your left knee toward the chest. Reach through and hold your left leg just below the knee and pull the knee toward the chest. Stop when you feel the stretch in your hip and then hold for up to two minutes. Release the stretch and repeat with the other side.
This stretch can be performed while seated, as well. Have a seat and bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor. After crossing your right ankle over your left knee, press your hands into the floor and lean toward your knees. Hold the stretch for several seconds then switch to the opposite side.
Knee Lift Stretch
Begin this stretch by lying on the floor on your back. Your legs should be straight. Lift your left leg and bend the knee while moving it close to the chest. With both hands, pull your knee gently toward you. Hold for 10 seconds and return your knee to the floor. Repeat with the opposite leg.
Internal Hip Rotator Stretch
Sit in a chair with both feet on the floor. Lift your left leg and place your left ankle on your right knee. Your left knee should point to the side. Lean forward from the hips with your back straight and gently press down on your left thigh with your hand. Hold the stretch for up to 30 seconds and release. Then, perform the stretch on the opposite leg.
Hopefully, these stretches can help with tight hip flexors. Although these are all stretches that can be done at home, Prairie Orthopaedic can help if you need guidance or assistance. Schedule an appointment if you don’t feel like things are improving.